Friday, December 11, 2009

Dogged by Charities Wanting Donations? Don’t Give Up on Helping Good Causes, but be Wary of Scams

By Stacy Whelchel

The holidays are known for bringing out the best, and unfortunately, the worst in people.
From the familiar sound of the Salvation Army kettle ringers to phone calls soliciting for charities, the cry for help is even louder this time as families continue to struggle and the desire to lend a hand becomes even stronger.

Regrettably, giving is not always the right thing to do thanks to holiday scams which work to take instead of give to those who want to help and those in need.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning to remind everyone wanting to give to charities that a donation request is not always what it seems. Here are a few tips for giving wisely: Donate directly to the charity and not paid solicitors on the phone, who sometimes keep a portion of the money collected. Check out a charity before you donate. Several websites like the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, http://www.bbb.org/us/charity, can assist you with nonprofit information. Don’t give out personal or financial information, including bank accounts, Social Security Numbers or credit card info to anyone who calls to solicit a contribution from you. Scam artists can use this to commit identity theft fraud against you.

Happy holidays to everyone and may this be a season of giving wisely in abundance!

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Stacy Whelchel is a Corporate Writer at Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. Pre-Paid Legal's signature products, including the Life Events Legal Plan and Identity Theft Shield, serve more than 1.5 million families in North America.

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